PALO ALTO, Calif., May 28 (UPI) -- Drilling deeper water wells would reduce the risk of arsenic for tens of millions of people throughout southern Asia, scientists in California said.
More than 100 million people daily are exposed to arsenic-contaminated water in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Vietnam, scientists at Stanford said.
Most arsenic-tainted water is found near the surface and people who have installed deep wells have found water relatively free of arsenic, which dramatically raises the risk of cancer and other diseases, Stanford groundwater expert Scott Fendorf and his team said in a release Thursday.
The cleaner water found at deeper levels could be compromised in the future by farmers who sink irrigation wells in deeper aquifers. Irrigation pumps pull down arsenic-contaminated water from the surface, jeopardizing the quality of the groundwater below.
"This precious resource must be preserved for drinking," the scientists wrote in a recent issue of the journal Science.